Sheldon Souray opens up about Oilers experience

Sheldon Souray’s Oilers career began with much fanfare. In the complicated post-Cup run years, Souray was the biggest free agent acquisition made by Kevin Lowe. The Elk Point, Alberta product inked a five-year deal worth $27,000,000 to finally fill the massive void left on Edmonton’s blueline with the departure of Chris Pronger.

Thanks to injuries, that didn’t happen. Souray was nursing a shoulder injury in training camp in 2007 but played through it. He would end up injuring himself getting into a fight five games into the year and missed all but 26 games that season. In 2008-09, Souray was excellent. He suited up in 81 games, scored 23 goals, and logged 24:51 per game. There was the No. 1 defenceman the Oilers were hoping for.

But after that, injuries stung Souray and he would never play a full season with the Oilers again. Souray suffered a concussion three games into the 2009-10 season when Jarome Iginla hit him into the boards. He would play 37 games that season. In the off-season, Souray requested a trade from the Oilers. The Oilers responded angrily and placed Souray on waivers. He went unclaimed and played the entire 2010-11 season in the AHL. They bought out the final year of his deal and a couple of solid seasons with Dallas and Anaheim after that.

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Oilers Fans, who were clearly still rattled from Pronger’s trade demand, felt scorned again, this time by a local product who chose to play here in free agency. But, looking closely, there was always something odd about the whole situation. Souray never seemed to have any issue playing in Edmonton or with the fans or anything, the trade demand was an issue with management.

“It’s not a players thing. It’s not a fans thing or a city thing. It’s a management thing,” Souray said. “They’ve given up on me, and it’s a two-way street. I don’t talk to anyone (in management) and I don’t expect to when I check out of here. I don’t really need to talk to them. There isn’t anything to say.”

Souray calling out management made him a public enemy in Edmonton. What fans saw on the surface was a player who recklessly injured themselves in a fight running their mouth out of bitterness. We never actually got a clear view of what was going on behind the scenes.

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Today, in response to John Shannon tweeting about Daryl Katz’s health, Souray opened up about his personal experience dealing with an injury while with the Oilers. According to Souray, he suffered a hand injury in a fight and, after surgery, it got infected. He said the infection was so bad he nearly had to have his hand amputated and he spent 12 months with an IV bag to keep the infection from spreading to his heart. While all this was going on, Souray said he had heard Oilers management thought Souray was milking the injury to get out of having to play. Interesting how he tweeted he heard that, but didn’t mention if he asked them if they felt that way.

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That’s a hell of a story. While our immediate reaction back then was to be angry at Souray for asking for a trade and bad-mouthing the organization, it always seemed fishy that things went down the way that they did. Now that this story is out in the open,(his version at least) you can see why he was so sour.

    • OilerForLife

      The whole thing just sounds a little weird. There’s doctor patient privilege, so wouldn’t a player just release the medical evidence to the team doctor? I’m not understanding this whole thing and the normal process if the team needs more information. Surely the physical capability to play is outlined in a contract, and the process to ensure transparency and accountability. Very confusing situation, I thought that they could call their own doctor in to confirm in this situation.

      • Hemmercules

        I think this is nothing more than Sheldon seeing an opportunity to take a jab at the Oilers. He starts off saying “I can relate….” meaning he can relate to Katz having a dangerous infection which has nothing to do with the Oilers. He goes on to describe what happend and he could have easily stopped at “…line in my heart to stop the infection…” but he decides to add that last tweet smearing the Oilers with info that may or may not have happened. Not defending Lowe and Tamblo, those guys records and comments speak for themselves. Im just not sure why Sheldon needs to keep bringing this up? The Oilers have enough problems. Washed up players slamming them on social media about something that happened 10 years ago isn’t helping things.

  • Hemmercules

    Everyone knew then and they know now that Tambellini and Lowe are complete idiots. I think Sheldon likes to bring this story up every few years just to stick it those two.

  • Himynameistaylor


  • Gary Chalmers

    Sour grapes from a former player that made his $27 million, get over it, its unfortunate what happened during his time with the the Oilers, but this just sounds like your typical ripping on the Oilers like the media likes to do, in an effort to keep your name out there, when your 15 minutes of fame is clearly over. Move on Sheldon, get a life.

    • fisherprice

      Yea Sheldon, get over almost dying and the legitimate chance your hand might have to be lopped off because of medical staff incompetence. Just sour grapes if you complain about almost dying imo.

      • Hemmercules

        Sheldon’s story about his infection could have been easily told without the part about Oilers management and still had the same impact. Sheldon pops up in the media every couple years to remind everyone this situation about his time in Edmonton. This is no different. He chimed in with the same stuff when Hall was traded and again another time. He saw an in and he took it.

  • Harry2

    In my books I dont blamr Katz that much for the past 13 years. Hes clearly not interested in running this team so he hired Lowe to run it. Now that is Katz problem. Kevin Lowe is an igotistical d-bag and once Katz clued in he basically made Lowe disappear.

    Long story short I believe (relictantly) that Katz finally made the right hire in Holland. If a guy with that resume cant right the Oilers to becoming at least a playoff participant for the next 10 years then I completely give up.

  • Ken Holland

    Sheldon did not handle the situation well. He should have reached out to management before the media.

    Its not a surprise he cleared waivers. Players like this are not a part of the culture we are building here.

  • TKB2677

    Oh good. Another former Oiler deciding to come out of the woodwork to complain about the Oilers management 9 yrs ago. More reason for the miserable Oilers fans out there to complain about something else.

    Guess what would happen if a former Oilers player came out and said something good about management, talking about all the good things that happened? The miserable Oilers fan would come out, try to destroy him and call him a liar. I am sure every single organization has their share of players who felt they had a good experience and a bad experience. Plus like EVERY single business.

  • Kr55

    That’s a bad look for the org, and one guy that played a big part of this mess is still here. I wonder how many Oilers fans would be genuinely surprised by this story though. Just goes along with how this has been one of the worst run franchises in all sports since 2008.

  • Drinking my Oilers problems away...

    Wasn’t a big Souray fan but he sure as hell didn’t deserve the treatment from those scumbags but this is insane and just goes to show the rot this team had and literally still has.

    F Steve Tambellini and F Kevin Lowe forever. They’re not men, they are cowards. Plain and simple. Don’t reply to me if you’re willing to defend these garbage human beings cause I don’t care.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    Who was the PoHO at that time? Man, he should have had Tambellini on a short leash.

    Oh well at least both have been fired and are gone from this franchise forever….

  • Heschultzhescores

    And another ex Oiler repeats the same condemning type experience here. At what point do they become completely believable? Do we need Bill Cosby numbers of accusers before something is done? The problem has not been on the ice for a long time. Please clean house Mr. Holland, you don’t want your name smeared with this group of mismanagement flunkies.

  • Oscar

    Now … more so than ever before … I wish Burkie had got his hands on K-Lowe for a few minutes, hey … he is soooooooo deserving of a good ole’ fashioned barn dance …

  • Lazarus

    Never blamed Souray for his Oiler fallout. Oiler fans dumping all over another of their own without knowing the full story. You see it all the time and they wonder why no one wants to sign in Edmonton.
    Best fans in the World eh?
    Yeah is you like pitchforking jerseys back into the crowd on your way to the bench like Scrivens

  • billsbills

    Well that’s part of one side. I have a hard time believing that they would not check on a $27 million dollar asset unless something soured that relationship a long time before that. Thanks for telling us pretty much nothing.

    • FISTO Siltanen

      Souray has said in Spittin Chicklets podcast last June that when he signed he said he needed shoulder surgery and would miss the 1st few weeks of regular season. Management said okay and signs him. He shows up in September and they act shocked he won’t be ready for pre-season action. He comes back early. Re-injures the shoulder injury and misses rest of season. Played like 7 games. Sounds like they had bigger concerns than treating an asset like it had any value.

    • OilTastic

      no matter how you feel about Katz, i wish him well ! his once prominent nose is now almost gone and he still needs one more surgery in that area ! he looked tired, more grey and disheveled in a recent photo i saw of him.

  • camdog

    I remember getting into it with the writers on this site at the time. The MSM kept stating Kevin Lowe wasn’t involved in any of this and that Tambellini had free reign…

    I still can’t believe Lowe turned down Corey Perry for Comrie because he wanted Comrie to pay the Oilers to trade him.

  • Since 72

    REALLY!?? 12 flippin years ago! Lets move on and look to the future, surely people have matured and learned from the past. If not, oh well Ken Holland will figure out if any are left and say goodbye.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    I defended Sheldon Souray at the time and I’ll do it again now. The Oilers management was, and still is the problem. K Lowe and company have to go! I still thank Sheldon for speaking up about how bad the Oilers management was so we know it must change…if players don’t speak up, how would we know?

    Pretty sad that those in management back then are still around…and nothing much has actually changed since – Oilers management blows. Hope Ken Holland can recognize this, turf them all, and start fresh!!

  • cityofchampions

    Old news, and not surprised. We all know Souray was treated badly by the organization and I didn’t blame him for wanting to leave. At least he had the class to get out when he wasn’t wanted, unlike most of the OBC who keep hanging around milking money from the organization as they can’t get jobs anywhere else. I doubt if MacT or Howson have ever been interviewed for any open post in the NHL.

  • ifiwasgm

    I was a fan of Souray, and still am.
    But this “I was told” that management thought he was milking it, makes no sense.
    This sounds like alot of like life problems, where half the stuff people believe , is just in their head.
    So a guy is in ICU and management thinks he’s faking it, ya I don’t believe that.
    Assumptions flying around here.

    Oilers Nation is becoming a pretty pathetic little girls club, with everyone getting angry when no one actually knows any facts,
    Everyone hearing one side of a story and running with it.

    Like Katz has been getting trashed here and no one knew he was almost dying and hockey was probably not the biggest thing on his mind.

    Like everyone here thinks they know exactly whats been going on deep in the organization, its comical.

    • TKB2677

      As an Oilers fan, I find a lot of the people that cheer for my team as nothing more than a much of miserable people. Things have not gone well for the Oilers so I completely understand there would be some negativity but I find that a lot of Oilers fans are over the top negative. They seek out and find what ever negative they can and cling on to it. If you look at this site plus other sites like Oilfans, there is WAY WAY more chatter about why the Oilers suck, why the management sucks and the sins of the organization are brought up over and over again. Trades that didn’t work out that were made, 3, 5, 10 yrs ago will be brought up again and again. A player who got passed over by the Oilers plus many other teams 8 yrs ago will be brought up over and over again. It’s kind of sad.

      • Hemmercules

        The Oilers have been a terrible team and organization for many many years. If we were to talk about the good things that have happened to this team it would be a very short conversation.It seems like every time something good happens to the team its followed up shortly but something bad. I do agree though, its nothing but complainers and miserable people most of the time. Losing breeds negativity. Losing for over decade breeds Oiler fans.

      • You know if they would just win people would be happy. But they cant do even do that. Worst record in the salary cap era one of the most expensive cap hits and are still what 27th overall or something. So ya fans will bring up bad trades, poor management over and over again. Remember the worst record in the cap era and everyone in upper management still has a job. If you constantly messed up in your job would you still have it after 13 years of being terrible at it? Unless you work for the oilers then the answer is probably no.

    • BobbyCanuck

      Frankly if I had known about Katz health issues, I would have fully understood why he was not being an engaged and involved owner.

      They tell us nothing, so we just assume he does not give an F about the on-ice product, and all we can see is that he makes $100M/yr of his Oiler investment.

      So of course the fan would think he is an absentee owner that only cares about profit

      • ifiwasgm

        Katz bought the team because he is a huge fan, he grew up an Oilers fan.
        I believe the Nicolson hiring is when he decided to step aside and let the hockey pro’s take full control.
        That’s when Chiarelli came in, when things could have turned around. And a guy with Stanley Cup winning pedigree, ran it into the ground, AGAIN.